By Thomas Insel on October 28, 2010
Dr. Insel summarizes NIMH’s research efforts to better understand and treat postpartum depression.
An HIV-prevention program targeted at women receiving prenatal care may effectively reduce risks for HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unplanned future pregnancies, according to NIMH-funded researchers. Bundling such interventions into existing health care models, like prenatal care, also may be more accessible to those who may not have the time, interest, or resources to attend a stand-alone HIV prevention program. Changing the way prenatal care is provided also may create sustainable advantages in reproductive health for all at-risk women. The study was published in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Numerous studies have suggested that depression runs in families. Children of depressed parents are 2–3 times as likely to develop depression as compared to children who do not have a family history of the disorder. Other studies have shown that remission of depression in mothers is associated with improvements in psychiatric symptoms in their children. Despite all signs encouraging mothers to prioritize their own mental health, many suffer from untreated depression while managing treatment for their children’s emotional or behavioral problems.
Untreated major depression, as well as the use of antidepressant medications, may increase the risk for premature (preterm) birth, but the risk of other problems in fetuses such as breathing, gastrointestinal, or motor problems, may not be increased, according to a study of pregnant women published online ahead of print March 15, 2009, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The 10th annual Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a science and health education fair held in various locations across the United States, teaches fifth through eighth grade students about the brain. In Washington, D.C., it will take place March 16-20, 2009, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Several institutes from the National Institutes of Health will provide interactive exhibits and lectures focusing on brain health and neuroscience on March 18th and 19th.
Women with bulimia nervosa (BN), when compared with healthy women, showed different patterns of brain activity while doing a task that required self-regulation. This abnormality may underlie binge eating and other impulsive behaviors that occur with the eating disorder, according to an article published in the January 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.